Today started out a lot like yesterday with breakfast and a small group devotion time. We read 1 Peter 1:12, "It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things." We talked in our small groups about how when we sing and serve the children and senior citizens today we would not only be serving them, but we would be serving the Lord. The students were challenged to look for opportunities all day long to serve each other as well as the people we met.
Our first concert stop was at the Friendship Village Retirement Community. As soon as we got there, our students jumped in to serve by helping carry in equipment, opening doors and helping get residents settled as they came in to hear us sing. The residents there loved talking to our students and we even met one man who had toured with a singing group as their accompanist when he was younger. He loved having an audience listen to him play a few songs on the piano!
After eating a quick sack lunch, we headed to Parc Provence which is a facility that specializes in caring for patients with dementia. While the choir sang there we were able to witness firsthand the power of music as some of the patients who struggled to communicate clapped and sang along as we sang "Amazing Grace" and "America"! Once again our students graciously served the sweet people there by listening, talking with them and making a sand art project for them to take to their rooms.
Our final stop of the day was at a Salvation Army center here in St. Louis called Family Haven that houses families in need and serves them three meals each day. We unloaded all of our equipment and 35 pizzas into their auditorium and were greeted with posters that the residents had made just for us! They were so glad we had come! Our students welcomed the people as they came into the auditorium, served them pizza and then sat with them to eat dinner. After dinner our kids helped the children that had come make an art project and also shared some Bible stories with them. I loved watching the sweet way the students talked to the children, picked them up and just loved on them. As our choir sang we could feel the spirit of the Lord working as many people listened intently and were moved to tears. After James shared the gospel 14 people raised their hands to indicate they had prayed to receive Christ for the very first time!
Will you join us in praying for these new believers? As we were leaving, we spoke with the director of the center who has an amazing testimony of how God saved her from a life of drug addiction and homelessness. She assured us that she and her staff will continue to pray for and follow up with the people who were impacted tonight.
The students are looking forward to singing at one more senior living center in the morning and then doing a little sight-seeing around St. Louis. Please continue to pray for safety as we travel and also for continued opportunities to serve the people of St. Louis and share Jesus with them!